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Just a Thought - I'd like to see my 2nd movie at Park
Lisa Hobbs, new mugshot.jpg

I want to see a movie at Park Theater. 

The theater has been showing an occasional movie for the past three or four years. Along with a back-to-school movie for youngsters, theater officials provided one on the morning of July 4. I missed “Jaws” because I was working at Midway’s celebration. I’ll have to live with that regret forever. 

Like most locals, I have fond memories of Park Theater. I had my first date there. We went to see “The Man from Snowy River.” 

It was a date that almost wasn’t. I was 16 years old in 1985 and my mother wouldn’t allow me to date. Upon some pestering, she added the stipulation, “If the boy asks my permission, I’ll allow it.” 

What 16-year-old boy would actually be brave enough to do that? My mother could be somewhat intimidating. When asked, I would repeat my mother’s requirement. No one did it. Doomed! I was doomed.

Doug showed up at my house after school one day. He was dressed really nice. He said he was about to ask my mother if he could take me on a date. Despite my urging against such a foolhardy act, he did it. 

The historic moment will be forever etched into my memory.

“Mrs. Childers,” Doug said, “I want to take your daughter to the movies. My mother will drive us there. She’ll be home right after.”

I remember the glare on my mother’s face. She was probably contemplating killing him and where to stash the body. I quickly reminded her, “Mom, you said you’d let me if a boy asked.” 

She agreed.

It has been 34 years and that was the only time I’ve ever seen a movie at Park Theater. It closed the following year in 1986. Now that it has been renovated, I, along with most of the community, would enjoy seeing an occasional movie there. However, the deed to Park Theater has the following restriction:

“This conveyance is subject to a restriction barring the use of the described realty for a motion picture theater by any subsequent grantee or lessee. This restrictive covenant shall run with the land.”

All that legal mumbo jumbo means movies can’t be shown at Park Theater, and the city’s attorney has reminded the city of that restriction. So officials have stopped providing the occasional movie, including the one on July 4.

The restriction was placed on the property’s deed when it was sold to Jerry Williamson by Bob and Wanda Bassham, the owners of Three Star Cinema. I completely understand why the Basshams would want to avoid competition. Don’t blame them one bit. 

On behalf of myself and everyone else who has fond memories at Park Theater, I’d like to make a humble request. Could the Basshams and city officials please sit down and work out an agreement that would allow a pre-determined number of classic movies to be shown each year? Please and thank you. This is about nostalgia and preserving a glimpse of the past. 

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.